Seagate FreeAgent Go 320 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive

Date Sun, January 31 2010

So, I’ll be headed home for a while and because I don’t have a laptop, keeping up with my typical computer-based activities can be difficult. Let me introduce you to FreeAgent Go, an external hard drive by Seagate. It’s not the one I was aiming for; I wanted a pink drive but the BX had none so we technically bought this drive for Ryan (knowing he’ll need one for future deployments) and I’ll get around to buying a pink one.. some day.

Right now, I cannot give a complete review but I can say, so far so good – except for the part where one of my USB ports sucks but this is not the fault of Seagate and their hardware. Setup is really easy, once you plug it in, the autorun will guide you through setup and registration of your new drive. My computer recognized it without problems and the software works on Windows computers running XP or Vista. I’m not sure if Windows 7 is supported and there was a notice for Mac users that a Mac-compatible drive is available so I don’t think they can use this.

I would like to say that the included USB cord is really short. It’s 17″ from end to end which doesn’t give a lot of room. If I plug it into the back of my tower, it has to sit on the floor right next to it or on the back edge of the top of the tower. Luckily, it’s a generic connector type (Mini-A, I believe) so if you had a cord from another device like a camera or one of those swappable connector cords, it’s really a non-issue.

Installation went without a hitch and soon I was running the Seagate software to backup my computer. The software is pretty straight forward and works well, which I appreciate it. It was easy to do a full back up, which I chose to do, or a custom one. Basically, all I had to do was press a button and the software was copying my entire C drive. You can tell how dated my computer is when I say my drive is only 80gigs and you can imagine my frustration when, even that, took over 7 hours to back up. It was probably more like 8 or 9 but I cannot recall what time I started doing it.

Now, it’s important to note that while FreeAgent Go is USB 2.0 compatible, you won’t get the higher speeds on regular USB1.0 ports and, because my computer is older, most of my ports are 1.0. As it happens, the one that wasn’t initially working was 2.0 so back ups will definitely be faster on newer machines. The Seagate website states that USB 2.0 will go up to 40 times faster than USB1.0 (480 Mbits/sec as compared to 12 Mbits/sec). And this doesn’t mean it doesn’t work, just that it doesn’t work quite as efficiently. I did rerun the backup when my USB2.0 was working correctly and it only took less than an hour!

If you are experiencing slow transfer times, it may be because you are not using a USB2.0 port (Seagate has instructions on checking that) or because you failed to do things like defrag or run checkdisk before (Seagate also has something to say about that).

During the entire time, the lights on the drive itself flickered to let me know it was ‘working.’ When it finished, the lights stayed steady. If you don’t find the lights useful, they can actually be turned off with the software, too. However, the lgihts do help to indicate if the drive is connected and if you ever run into port issues, they can be a troubleshooting tool. I do find that the flickering is not quite as vibrant as I would like and I have to look at it for a few moments to determine whether the lights are steady or not.

The good news is, after the initial backup, I will only be backing up changes in certain folders, like “My Documents” which only takes a few minutes. And there were no hardware or software issues. Newer computers will probably have an even more efficient time of things but it’s good to know this drive works with older ones because my mother’s computer is also quite old.

Seagate also offers the option to encrypt files. I probably won’t use it but it’s great in the event that I leave the drive plugged in or forget it someplace (not that I would be taking it anyplace I could forget it but still).

So, assuming Seagate FreeAgent Go 320 GB USB 2.0 Portable External Hard Drive works well with my mother’s computer, I really like it. I just wish the pink one were prettier so I could have bought that!

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